HRT: Karthikeyan suffers “unbearable pain” in race

2011 Spanish GP team review

Narain Karthikeyan finished the Spanish Grand Prix with a burnt back.

In practice HRT looked at risk of failing to qualify as they were often more than 7% slower than the quickest driver.

Both drivers made it into the race but would have been in trouble had McLaren or Red Bull chosen to use soft tyres in Q1.

Narain Karthikeyan Vitantonio Liuzzi
Qualifying position 22 21
Qualifying time comparison (Q1) 1’27.908 (+0.099) 1’27.809
Race position 21
Laps 61/66 28/66
Pit stops 3 1

HRT drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61
Narain Karthikeyan 108.183 96.537 96.01 95.697 95.293 97.073 95.581 95.757 95.215 95.368 96.244 96.932 96.338 102.71 117.328 94.425 94.924 95.434 94.591 98.738 94.459 94.269 95.896 97.41 96.444 98.002 100.526 103.39 119.895 94.776 93.861 93.639 92.848 94.534 97.005 94.523 94.896 95.721 93.732 96.245 97.364 96.971 96.142 96.358 96.294 97.852 103.332 116.984 100.289 99.056 94.902 95.23 96.604 97.627 94.123 94.169 94.574 94.454 96.037 95.563 96.257
Vitantonio Liuzzi 106.737 96.641 96.013 95.448 95.208 95.01 95.231 96.627 95.1 95.092 94.931 95.132 95.039 94.934 95.966 98.511 114.148 94.115 95.071 95.481 94.594 93.884 94.269 94.56 96.364 95.577 95.601 95.262
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Barcelona, 2011

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Barcelona, 2011

Narain Karthikeyan

Karthikeyan said he was in pain throughout the Spanish Grand Prix:

“It was a very hard race. The tyres were degrading a lot, especially the rear ones making it very difficult to drive. The first few laps were all right but then the rear started giving me a lot of problems.

“I also had some trouble with my seat, I burnt my back and at times the pain was unbearable. The positive aspect was that I finished the race although we didn?t get much out of it.”

Narain Karthikeyan 2011 form guide

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Made a good start to pass Timo Glock. Felt he could have kept the fight up had he not had to retire with a gearbox problem:

“After the first pit stop, with the second set of tyres we lost some grip in the rear just like in qualifying. I also started feeling issues with the upshift, it was getting worse and worse and eventually had to stop.

“We have to investigate why this happened but it?s still too early to say what the reason was. It?s a real shame because without this issue we could?ve had better pace for the second stint and fight with the Virgins until the end.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi 2011 form guide

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Spanish Grand Prix articles

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41 comments on HRT: Karthikeyan suffers “unbearable pain” in race

  1. Roald said on 23rd May 2011, 10:57

    This is ridiculous, we might laugh at this, but it’s very concerning to say the least. With the constant safety measures taken by the FIA, shouldn’t this news be enough to get an investigation going? I can’t imagine they approve of driving around with a seat that’s on fire.

    What on earth posessed Karthikyan to drive on…

    • DVC said on 23rd May 2011, 11:26

      I’m still struggling to understand how he was able to bare the unbearable pain.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd May 2011, 11:45

      Come on there. I would understand it, if you said something about Renault after Heidfelds FP3 fire, but this.

      Very uncomfortable and what a dedication to drive on right at the end of the field to finish. But a safety risk?

      • Wouldn’t want to waste money that he has spent to get this drive. This is probably his last season in the sport anyways. He’s having the time of his life I assume.

    • codesurge (@codesurge) said on 23rd May 2011, 13:19

      I wonder if Karthikeyan continued to drive to the end despite the pain in order to solidify his claim on a race seat after seeing the way Kolles played musical chairs last season. Anything to keep your dream job, really.

  2. snowman said on 23rd May 2011, 11:07

    Theres bound to be some sort of investigation into this. Beyond ridiculous that can happen. If he says pain was unbearable at times with the adrenaline flowing in the middle of a race it must have been really bad. Would imagine HRT are not overly happen at Karthikyan saying anything about it.

  3. Ral said on 23rd May 2011, 11:14

    I don’t think that’s as unusual as it may sound. Coulthard has said he’s come out with burn blisters on his backside before.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 23rd May 2011, 11:26

      Alonso also had a broken drinks bottle in 2009 and raced on, only to collapse after the race.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd May 2011, 12:18

      It happened to Webber at Jaguar too, I recall.

      Going way back, there’s a story about Juan Manuel Fangio being burned by an exhaust during one race (possible Argentina ’53 but I’m not sure). He described his flesh being “cooked like a piece of meat”.

  4. maxthecat said on 23rd May 2011, 11:58

    He’s not the first to get a Burnt back/ass and he won’t be the last. I think ‘uncomfortable’ would have been a better description, trust me if you burn your back and had unbearable pain you wouldn’t be driving around at the back of the grid 7 seconds slower than everyone else, you’d get out.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd May 2011, 12:04

      Ehm, I think you underestimate Narian there. He has his mind set on getting results and going to the finish is the only way to improve.

      • maxthecat said on 23rd May 2011, 13:11

        Results? I’m going to assume you mean development, running around last, 3-4 laps behind the leaders isn’t a result. If he was in so much pain he wouldn’t be driving flat out would he? he wouldn’t be concentrating 100% on driving so other than subjecting himself to pain and potentially been unable to race in Monaco due to it what would he gain?

      • SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 23rd May 2011, 15:13

        I think you underestimate the pain of REAL of burns. If he really was burned there is no way he drives that car. It might have got very hot and uncomfortable but if he’s actually been burnt he’s in hospital right now and not bleating how brave he was.

  5. Douglas62500 said on 23rd May 2011, 11:59

    It’s pretty amazing to see this team coming this close to Virgin now, achieving almost all Virgin did minus a little bit of reliability…. Good luck to them !!

  6. sam3110 (@sam3110) said on 23rd May 2011, 12:07

    Surely having a burnt back from your car means the car is unsafe?

    HRT, little tip, instead of whining about the other cars and the blown diffusers, make sure your car is actually drivable!

    I am all for the underdog and people breaking into the sport, but this team is ridiculous, and I personally believe that they are a liability to the sport, and need to be replaced, or get serious.

  7. bosyber said on 23rd May 2011, 12:28

    I think their qualifying speed is a bit worrying, but I suppose that with the current tyres, and the fastest two teams being far enough ahead on hard tyres to not need the softer option, they are pretty safe for now.

    I still think that in a few races they will be right on top of Virgin, and regularly beating them in the race. They seem to have a well laid out plan for improvements (well, have to see if the EBD ever happens for them or that banning it for others is easier) in a lot of areas of the car.

  8. Dafffid said on 23rd May 2011, 13:20

    Well done to him for carrying on, but he’s a second off Liuzzi for half the laps they raced together, time for a driver switch. In fact he was so far back he could have jumped out for ten seconds at a pit-stop and hosed his seat and his **** down with cold water…

  9. brew88 (@brew88) said on 23rd May 2011, 15:21

    I don’t understand why Karthikeyan is still driving, he clearly doesn’t enjoy it. He turns up scrapes through the 107% rule, barely finishes the race and then moans. Whos forcing him to race, If he doesn’t want to do it I can think of a few driver that would have his arm off, Chandhok and Senna are desperate for a drive.

    Maybe its a team attitude problem, I’ve noticed the HRT have decided to take their bat and ball home over the engine map retardation (blown diffuser during braking). I enjoy watching Lotus and Virgin try and work their up the grid, they have the right attitude which makes you want them to do well. With HRT I find myself wishing they’d bugger off.

  10. Fishingelbow said on 23rd May 2011, 18:40

    I wonder how this compares to Mark Webber’s “performance” in the French GP in 2005. The team even dumped a bucket of water on him to try to ease the pain during the race and he had to get treatment for the burn afterwards.

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 23rd May 2011, 19:55

    I didn’t even notice Liuzzi was out of it until near the end, shame!

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